Easy Chair — From the January 2013 issue

Second Chance

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Inauguration Day is upon us. And it seems like only yesterday that the colossal, overheating machinery of democracy, which had been running in high gear for almost two years, finally powered down. The resources marshaled on its behalf defy human comprehension. A few ballpark numbers: an estimated $6 billion was flushed down the tubes over the course of the campaign. An estimated 300 million of those dollars were directed to their targets by superconsultant (and Fox News tantrum thrower) Karl Rove. An estimated 60 million of them were ponied up by a single man, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. An estimated 1 million TV commercials clogged the nation’s airwaves. And an estimated seventeen months were filled with wall-to-wall rhetoric — beginning on the day in June 2011 when the full complement of Republican presidential hopefuls conducted their first debate in New Hampshire.

Do you even remember their names, reader? Let each roll off your tongue, and savor the receding memories. There was Newt Gingrich — the bitter, familiar one. Michele Bachmann — the confused, panicked one. Rick Perry — hair. Ron Paul — Constitution. Herman Cain — pizza. Rick Santorum — coal-mining grandfather, sweater-vest. Mitt Romney — hair, Olympics. Only after fourteen months did this Combat of the Seven yield a champion to go forth against the Democrats.

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